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Maltipoo is Yawning a Lot


Hello PetMaltipoo Team,

I have what may be an odd question. My Maltipoo, Bianca is 9 months old and only for the past 3 or 4 weeks I have noticed that she is yawning a lot. And I mean a lot, not just a random yawn here and there.

I know that she is getting enough sleep, she sleeps through the night now and also sometimes takes one or two small naps during the day.

I am pretty sure that a dog yawning cannot be harmful, but I really don't want her to be this way forever. Do you have any ideas on why she is doing this? And what I can do to help her stop it? Maybe it has become a habit?

Thanks for your help ~ Annie

This is an interesting question and we have chosen to print it onto this website because we feel that Maltipoo owners must know about this.

There ARE two types of yawns:
  • Yawns due to being sleepy
  • Yawns due to stress or preparation of activity
We will explain in detail… When a Maltipoo yawns (And this is true for all animals), it increases the oxygen flow to the brain and it also increases the dog’s heart rate. There are certain circumstances in which a dog will yawn to have that increased oxygen and increased heart rate and it has nothing to do with being sleepy.

Now, in some cases, a dog may yawn when they are preparing their bodies for a high increase of activity. This is true , for example, when dogs are competing in agility events…
sleepy Maltipoo
Daisy, 3 years old
Photo courtesy of Faith Daniels 
If you were a spectator, you may notice that many of the dogs are yawning right before the event is about to begin. Dogs that do this on purpose are those that are excited about what they are about to do.

Now, we are going to assume that your little Maltipoo does not have anticipation of extra activities every day…So the answer that is most likely is the other reason: Stress.

You can provide a healthy, clean environment and be a very loving owner, and a Maltipoo can still become stressed out. They may display this in 1 of several ways:
  • An increase in separation anxiety behavior
  • Increased barking
  • “forgetting” their house-training
  • A decrease in appetite
  • Yawning
So, you must look at the situation and see if you can identify anything that may be triggering stress for your Maltipoo. It could be any number of things, but here is a list of the most common possible reasons:
  • Moving to a new home – If this is the case, try to put all of her items in the same spots, for example if her doggie bed used to be in the living room, put it in the living room of the new home, etc. Walk her often so that she gets used to her new neighborhood and use soothing words as you walk. In time, she will get accustomed to the new house.
  • A new family member – This can be a person who is now living with you who was not previously…or it could be a new pet that you have. If it is a person, your Maltipoo must be allowed to slowly get used to them…Do not have them suddenly giving your dog baths, walks, feedings and more.
Each week, have them do a bit more with your Maltipoo, giving her plenty of time to trust the new person. If you have a new pet, watch how they interact when they are alone…Sneak peeks at what they are doing. Are they ignoring each other? That is a good sign that neither sees the other as a threat… But is the new pet taking food from your Maltipoo? Is the new pet getting more attention? Or perhaps taking over your Maltipoo’s sleeping area?
  • Are YOU stressed out? When a dog’s owner or owners are stressed out, even if they do not purposefully try to show it, a Maltipoo or any other dog WILL be able to pick up on clues that you may not even notice…The tone of your voice…arguments that they are overhearing…Sadness in your voice…Worry in your voice and actions, etc. If this is the case, no matter what is happening in your life, try to take time every day to forget about the issue and play with your Maltipoo…go for a walk… play chase…anything fun that will take your mind and her mind off of any tension.
Sleep apnea - Another possible reason for excessive yawning would be sleep apnea, which causes a dog to continually wake up at night. They only wake up for a second or so and fall right back to sleep....however, since the deep REM sleep is being constantly interrupted there is no true 'resetting' and not enough actual deep sleep for the body to feel rejuvenated. A dog will then yawn and feel essentially exhausted the next day.

Most dogs that have sleep apnea will snore or make short little gasping noises.  Since Maltipoos are such small dogs, the snoring may be very light and you may need to be very close to hear it.

If you do not feel that stress is the cause, we would suggest having her checked out by the veterinarian for sleep apnea or other health conditions that would be causing her to not receive enough deep sleep at night. 
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